November 13, 2009

Now even more international

One of the striking things about our Lufthansa codeshare beginning is seeing Customers with far-away airprots on their itineraries. This Customer, who was the first PIT Customer on a codeshare flight, was jetting to JFK before heading straight to FRA (that’s Frankfurt, Germany — I’m expecting to be looking up plenty of mysterious city codes thanks to the codeshare).

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Of course, while the word of the week has been “international,” something to keep in mind is that we’re already an international carrier — JetBlue serves 11 countries outside the U.S., a number that’s grown lately. Beyond that, Crewmembers come from an incredible array of backgrounds, and JetBlue is based in the most diverse county in the United States.

Still, the sudden ability to go from the Sears Tower to the Eiffel Tower or from Hollywood to Bollywood via JetBlue, as signage at Wednesday’s event at T5 pointed out, is pretty wild.

There are a lot of ways to experience a new culture. I prefer food and music, so the use of both to demonstrate our new diversity of destinations at T5 Wednesday was something I really enjoyed. All the pictures do a fantastic job conveying what it was like, but you had to be there to get that part of the experience unfortunately.

Instead of the usual rock and pop that fills T5, during the event, the terminal featured a mix of world music that would jump between continents from one song to the next. Among other things, I heard some Spanish guitar, American jazz, Celtic music, and one of my personal favorite artists, the late Nigerian afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, who’s the subject of a Broadway musical right now. The music mix represented the vast range of destinations available thanks to the codeshare.

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The variety of food had the same effect, with different cuisines from around the world on offer. Each item symbolized either a JetBlue or a Lufthansa destination reachable through the codeshare. So, the phrase “from Hollywood to Bollywood” I mentioned earlier was represented by California rolls and curry chicken on nan, pictured above.  In airline terms, that’s LAX to BOM (Mumbai — the heart of India’s film industry).

My favorite was the Italian beef sandwich, standing in for Chicago (although it goes without saying that Lufthansa flies all over Italy). This was a juicy roast beef sandwich with peppers and onions. I’d never had one before, and since there were plenty to go around, I’ve now had two. I’d like to salute ORD Crewmembers on a delicious regional sandwich — your BlueCity was well represented at the codeshare event.

Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz speaks at JFK Terminal 5 on Nov. 11, 2009, with Crewmembers from Lufthansa and JetBlue, including JetBlue CEO Dave Barger, in the background.

Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz speaks at JFK Terminal 5 on Nov. 11, 2009, with Crewmembers from Lufthansa and JetBlue, including JetBlue CEO Dave Barger, in the background.

By the end of the day, there was no doubting what was meant by “we’ve got worldwide connections.” Not long ago, I wouldn’t have expected to be using “JetBlue” and “Hong Kong” in the same sentence. Now, with the Lufthansa codeshare underway, it’s not the least bit strange.

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